Yoga in general has been proven to increase health and body awareness allowing yoga participants to build an individual relationship with their bodies. Yoga lessons emphasize the fact that it is a very personal, individual practice, so never compare yourself to fellow practitioners. As with everything else in life we are very unique beings, learning and growing at our own pace.
Here at QUINTA DA FE (FAITH RETREATS™) we would like to introduce a special type of yoga to you, Kundalini yoga. Kundalini yoga is a type of yoga that is especially helpful at strengthening your physical foundation, your willpower and perseverance, and your nervous system to cope with challenging situations. In this respect it is an incredible support during life improvement, recovery and enhancement.
The first person who brought the ancient knowledge of Kundalini yoga to the West was a yogi named Bhajan. Yogi Bhajan came to the West during the counter-culture movement of the late 1960’s and 1970’s. For the first time in history, a master shared the ancient, secret science of Kundalini Yoga freely and openly. He did this because he knew that much would change in the beginning of the 21st century for humanity.
We can see evidence all around us of how the horizon of the human mind is growing. The Internet has created a cyber space that is truly limitless in size and experience. The human mind processes more information in one day than people had to process during an entire lifetime in the 1700’s. The demands on the human brain and the nervous system have never been as great as they are today.
However, evolution is a tricky process and not everyone will be capable of making the change. Yogi Bhajan said those who cannot make the shift will need help. He taught Kundalini Yoga so that people would have techniques to consciously develop the sensory system.
Kundalini yoga, mental health and recovery
It is important to remember that Yogi Bhajan’s mission to share the wisdom of Kundalini Yoga began with the flower children of the 60’s, who were using drugs to expand their minds and find God. Yogi Bhajan’s message was so simple. Drugs are a drag. There is a more natural way to go. His first teachings on yoga, diet, meditation, and lifestyle were designed to help these “seekers of truth” break away from the false stimulation of drugs.
Yogi Bhajan explained that the pituitary gland is the master gland that regulates the glands of the entire body. But the pituitary needs to take its orders from somewhere. Through meditation, the pineal gland secretes and creates a connection with the pituitary. This, in turn, causes the pituitary to function in such a way that the entire body comes into harmony with the soul. Then a person can begin the process of self-control... in essence, gaining the ability to live to their true or authentic self.
However, if the pineal did not talk to the pituitary, then the pituitary would look for something else to give it “orders.” Every addictive substance – from sugar to alcohol to drugs to sex to video games – stimulates the pituitary. This is where Yogi Bhajan said addiction and poor mental health originated from: the lack of communication between the pineal and the pituitary. He wanted them to re-establish the inner dialogue between the pineal and the pituitary: between the soul and the personal identity. All his Kundalini Yoga teachings that he brought to the West were based on that motivation.
The benefits of yoga in general are too long to list so we listed the benefits for you that are so typical for Kundalini yoga:
Releases toxins and deposits from the lungs
Expands the lung capacity and increases vital strength.
Strengthens the nervous system to resist stress.
Repairs the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
Strengthens the will power
Increases physical endurance and prepares you to act effectively.
Reduces addictive impulses for drugs, smoking, and bad foods.
Increases oxygen delivery to the brain, facilitating a focused, intelligent, and neutral state of mind.
Boosts the immune system and may help prevent many diseases.
What to expect?
While entering the yoga class we suggest silence. It helps you to focus and prepare for your practice. Observe your chattering mind, observe your thoughts. Resistance may arise because you are not used to engaging with yourself in this way.
There will be a lot of information coming your way. No need to feel overwhelmed, over time you will get used to and understand more of the terminology. Always stay patient with yourself and allow any emotion to be. Emotions are normal reactions during a yoga practice, they are a sign that stagnant energies are surfacing and there is nothing to worry about.
The practice starts with two opening prayers, one to connect to your inner teacher and a second one to ask for the practice to be protected.
the closing chant
The opening prayers are in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India.
Om namo guru dev namo
Ad guray nameh
Jugaad guray nameh
Sat guray nameh
Siri guru dayvay nameh
We can close the practice with this song:
May the long time sunshine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure light within you
Guide your way home
3 x Sat Nam (meaning Truth is my Identity)
Some frequently used terms are:
The word kriya means action. It is an action that leads to a complete manifestation like a seed leads to a bloom, a thought into actuality, a desire to commitment.
In Kundalini Yoga a kriya is a series of postures, breath, and sound that work toward a specific outcome. Practicing a kriya initiates a sequence of physical and mental changes that affect the body, mind, and spirit simultaneously. There are kriyas that support the liver, balance the glandular system, release anger, help against depression, heal the flexibility of the spine, and many more. Each kriya has a different effect, but all work on all levels of your being.
What: Root Lock is like a hydraulic lock at the base of the spine. It coordinates, stimulates, and balances the energies involved with the rectum, sex organs, and navel point (i.e. the lower three chakras).
How: Three actions are applied together in a smooth, rapid, flowing motion. First, contract and hold the muscles around the anus. Then contract and hold the muscles around the sex organ (like stopping the flow of urine). Finally, contract the muscles of the lower abdomen and the navel point toward the spine.
When: Frequently applied at the end of an exercise. Sometimes applied – continuously or rhythmically – throughout a meditation or exercise. Breath held in or out. Women on their moon cycle should not apply Root Lock.
Why: Crystallizes the effect of an exercise and stimulates the proper flow of spinal fluid.
Breath of fire
What: Breath of Fire is one of the primary breath techniques used in the practice of Kundalini Yoga. It accompanies many postures and has numerous beneficial effects.
How: Breath of Fire is rapid, rhythmic, and continuous. The inhale and the exhale are equal, with no pause between them (approximately 2-3 cycles per second). It is always practiced through the nostrils with mouth closed, unless stated otherwise. Breath of Fire is powered from the Navel Point and solar plexus. To exhale, the air is expelled through the nose, by pressing the Navel Point and solar plexus back toward the spine. This feels automatic if you contract the diaphragm rapidly. The inhale comes in as part of relaxation rather than through effort.
Here at QUINTA DA FE (FAITH RETREATS™) we tailor your Kundalini Yoga sessions to your needs and to what is alive in the moment for the individual or the group whilst drawing from the traditional teachings and sequences as taught by Yogi Bhajan. We feel that sessions do not need to be all serious but should be fun and interesting. We understand that deeply transformative therapies and practices such as Kundalini Yoga, can bring to the surface many emotions and even resistance, encouraging you to use these moments as an invitation to your own empowerment and to push through just a little further. We are there for you, holding space for your transformation and healing in a compassionate and non-judgmental way.